Tim Raines (True) Rookie Cards

With their pick in the 5th Round of the 1977 MLB June Amateur Draft, the Montreal Expos selected Tim Raines from Seminole High School in Sanford, FL. Tim Raines has 3 true rookie cards and 1 rookie-year card.

Tim Raines Shortened Rookie Season

He is regarded as one of the greatest leadoff hitters and baserunners in baseball history.

Voted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013 but it did not come that easily here in the U.S.

He received 86% of the vote in his tenth and final year of eligibility in 2017.

Tim played football in High School and was really good in fact, he had an opportunity to take the NFL route but choose MLB instead.

In 1981, his rookie season, Tim Raines put up some impressive numbers batting .304 and had the most stolen bases for a rookie with 71.

The hook? 1981 was a strike-shortened year. The strike lasted about 60 days which means no regular-season games were played.

One can only imagine what his final numbers would’ve been under a full season.

An impressive rookie season no doubt about it but he still fell short of the 1981 Rookie of the Year honors.

Raines was runner-up to Los Angeles Dodgers pitching phenom Fernando Venezuela.

The Speed Stealing Stats of Raines

The most impressive stat is his base stealing, between 1981-1987 he had at least 70 stolen bases each year.

Career totals for stolen bases put him at No. 4 all-time, behind Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock, and Ty Cobb.

Also, noteworthy, while playing for the Chicago White Sox he set an AL record, 40 consecutive times he successfully stole a base.

His batting statistics aren’t too shabby either.

He was a switch hitter with a career .385 on-base percentage and a .425 slugging percentage.

This made him one of the best leadoff hitters in the game.

1986 was his best year winning NL Batting Champion and Silver Slugger Awards while batting .334 with an on-base percentage of .413 that year.

A fact that impressed me most, he is 1 of only 29 major league ballplayers to play the game in four decades, 1979-2002.

Career Stats & Accomplishments

Tim played professional baseball for 23 years. 13 years with the Expos, 5 years with the White Sox, a 3-year stint with the Yankees, and one-year deals with Florida, Baltimore, and Oakland.

According to Baseball-Reference.com Tim Raines stats are:

Batting Avg .294 | Stolen Bases 808 | Hits 2,605


  • 7x All-Star
  • 2x World Series Champion (1996, 1998)
  • 1x Silver Slugger
  • 1x Batting Title

Tim Raines True Rookie Cards

Before We Begin

This post contains affiliate links through eBay Partner Networks, links are attached to (shop ebay) buttons. If you purchase anything, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support! For more info please see my Disclaimer here.

True Rookie Card

Identifier (RC) Defined

A rookie card is a trading card that is the first to feature an athlete AFTER that athlete has participated in the highest level of competition within his or her respected sport. It must be licensed by both the League and the Players Association. An RC identifier is only given to cards that fit this criteria. Below is an exhaustive list of the featured players true rookie cards.

1981 Topps, #479 (RC)

Tim Raines 1981 Topps #479 (side a)
Tim Raines 1981 Topps #479 (side b)
shop ebay

For the first time in 26 years, Topps had some competition in 1981 as Donruss & Fleer make their premier in the hobby.

In 1980 Topps opted to remove their logo from the front of their cards. But because of fierce competition, they quickly put their name back on the front with this 81 set.

I’m not a fan of multi-player rookies on one card but I can quickly make an exception when it entails the rookie card of Hall of Famer Tim Raines.

1981 O-Pee-Chee, #136 (RC)

shop ebay

Another viable option comes from up-north. O-Pee-Chee gives us their version of a Tim Raines rookie card. The front and back of this gives us brand name and a much lighter card board stock in the back.

However, card number will be different on this one as the O-Pee-Chee set was a bit smaller at only 374 cards. Cards for the Canadian teams offers full team checklist, while all other teams it only gives a partial roster.

Recent market trends show O-Pee-Chee baseball cards increasing in value. Probably due to fewer graded cards inside population reports.

Rookie-Year Card

Identifier (RYC) Defined

An RYC identifier is given to the cards of a rookie player that: are not the first card featured in the base set, subset cards, insert cards, print on-demand cards, food and beverage issues, or cards that are not properly licensed by the League and the Players Association.

1981 Topps Traded, #816 (RYC)

shop ebay

This 132 card set is an extension to the Topps set. In a scurry to get an edge on the competition Topps released their base set early, this set the stage for its first Traded set.

It can be said that it is an extension of the base set because there identical in design and are numbered 727-858, a literal continuance of the base set.

Also, this should not be considered a Tim Raines rookie card because he appeared in the 1981 Topps (card pictured above) set earlier in the year.

However, collectors were not discouraged by hobby politics and embraced this card of Tim because it featured him by himself.

Today, technically speaking this should not be considered a rookie card.

Because a long-time hobby standard states, “a rookie card is the first base card featured in a set.” This is his second card featured in the set. But still a great early rookie-year card to own.

Happy Collecting Collectors,

Learn. Collect. Enjoy.

304 North Cardinal
St. Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Work Hours
Monday to Friday: 7AM - 7PM
Weekend: 10AM - 5PM